SSD in Affton Monthly Dispatch

January 2021

SSD Student Scholarship Deadline Approaching!

The Special Education Foundation (SEF) sponsors the John Cary Scholarships for high school seniors, as well. Applications are due Jan. 24, 2022.

SSD Staff Awards are due February 7, 2022.

For more information, please contact Deana Parsons, SSD internal communications coordinator, at dmparsons@ssdmo.org or 314.989.8102.

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SSD Virtual Lunch & Learn Series

Special School District’s Family and Community Outreach, Social Work, Parent Education and Diversity Awareness (PEDA) and Communications departments have teamed up to offer a virtual Lunch & Learn series for SSD families and stakeholders. The series, which will involve community organizations sharing information about their work, will take place on the first Wednesday of each month during the 2021-22 school year, from 11:30 AM - Noon.

Representatives from nine community organizations will participate in order to increase awareness about their agency and make connections with those in our SSD community who may benefit from their programs and services.

Organizations represented in the Lunch & Learn series include:

January Parent Advisory Council Meeting for Affton SSD Parents

Our next PAC meeting will be January 20th. Please see the link here! We would love for everyone to participate in this. Please let us know how we can help and if there are any topics you would like to hear more about.



SSD in Affton PAC

Thursday, January 20, 2022 · 6:30 – 7:30pm

Google Meet joining info

Video call link: https://meet.google.com/yvx-zbhx-hss

Or dial: ‪(US) +1 812-625-7358‬ PIN: ‪806 549 348‬#

More phone numbers: https://tel.meet/yvx-zbhx-hss?pin=7000752347950

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Health and Wellness

January is Mental Wellness Month

SSD Affton Team would like to remind you that January is Mental Wellness Month! Focusing a few minutes every day on enhancing mental wellness can increase resilience, help manage stress, and build on an overall sense of well-being. Mental Wellness also helps combat symptoms of serious mental illness. If the concept of mental wellness is new to you, consider the following steps that can easily be added to your routine:

Develop an attitude of gratitude: Focusing on the people and things we are thankful for can help build a positive sense of self. It is often said that while every day may not be good, there is something good in every day. Take a moment or two to focus on the good things and draw your attention away from what might be dragging you down. Some people find it helpful to keep a list of what they are grateful for, others find it helpful to express appreciation through prayer, conversation, or writing a note.

Set aside time to do the things you enjoy: Often, we can become overwhelmed by the things we feel we “have” to do and lose sight of those things that give our lives joy and meaning. Set aside time each day to engage in something pleasant and meaningful to you; take a walk, hot bath, or engage in a hobby. Your pleasant event does not have to take a lot of time out of your day to add a feeling of well-being to your day.

Take a break from stress: Try eliminating or reducing those things that are not healthy or helpful to you. Take a break from watching the news or unfollow negative people on social media. Set appropriate boundaries in your life and learn to say no sometimes.

Slow down: Notice with intention the things you are doing. Drawing your awareness to the moment, especially those moments that are pleasant, enhances our ability to be mindful, and connected with ourselves and others.

Take care of yourself: Enhancing our physical wellness also improves mental wellness. Exercising, eating well, and treating physical illness are all important steps to take to help build an overall sense of wellbeing.

Ask for help when you need it: Seek support and talk to people who care about you. If you are feeling overwhelmed, Hope Haven can help! Our licensed mental health counselors are trained to work with people who are struggling with everyday stressors, as well as working with people who may have serious mental illness.

St. Louis has a wealth of resources to guide and support us during challenging times. Below are a couple of links that will take you to a number of resources available in our area that will either support our needs or lead us to the agency that can provide the mental health resources needed.

National Alliance on Mental Health St. Louis

Start Here STL

Discounted Home Internet Access

Home internet access is important for student success, whether learning in-person or at home. To provide all families with the opportunity to access the internet, the FCC has launched a temporary program, Emergency Broadband Benefit, to help families struggling to afford internet service. The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible families and households who are struggling to stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible households can also receive a discount of up to $100 for the purchase of a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers. For more info, please visit: fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit

Parent Education Diversity Awareness

What To Do This Summer?

Join us Tuesday, January 18th at 6:00 PM to learn about summer recreation programs available to school-age children with developmental disabilities and funding options to assist in paying for those programs.

The workshop, hosted in collaboration with the Recreation Council of Great St. Louis, will be on zoom.

Presenter: Susan Fleming, Executive Director of the Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis. The Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis is a not-for-profit organization which serves as a "clearinghouse" for information on leisure, recreation, and socialization opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities who reside in the Greater St. Louis Area. The Council works to ensure that individuals with disabilities are aware of and have access to activities and programs of their "choice."

To register or request the more information about summer programs please contact, the SSD Parent Education and Diversity Awareness program at 314.989.8460 or email [ssdpeda@ssdmo.org%20]ssdpeda@ssdmo.org

Parent Leadership Institute

If you are a parent or family member who makes the educational decisions for a child with a disability, investing the time to attend these four Wednesday evening sessions will provide:

Vision for the future of your child.

Knowledge to help you to effectively participate in your child’s education.

Leadership skills to improve the educational climate for all children.

Access to new resources, friends and experts to help you on your journey.

The Institute will be held on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on February16, March 2, 9, and 16, at the SSD Central Office, 12110 Clayton Road, 63131. The institute is offered at no cost and dinner is provided.

Learn more about this opportunity or download the application at: Parent Leadership Institute


We are also taking applications for the Parent Leadership Institute. PLI will occur over 4 evenings in February and March. You can learn more and download the application here: Parent Leadership Institute


Finally, PEDA would love your feedback! Please complete are PEDA Communications survey here: PEDA Survey

IEP Corner

The IEP answers the following questions:

  • What is the vision for this child?
  • What does the student know and do well?
  • What will be this year’s annual goals and objectives?
  • What services will be provided?
  • How will services be provided?

Summer Work Experience Program

Through the program, students hold a summer job in their community and receive job-coaching support. They are paid an hourly wage for their work. SWEP is funded by the Productive Living Board of St. Louis County and is open to county residents with a qualifying disability. It is conducted through a collaboration of six area agencies - MERS/Goodwill is the Lead Agency.



A few important things to remember about eligibility for the SWEP program:


  • You must be a resident of St. Louis County.
  • You must be between 16 and 20 years of age and planning to return to a school program in the Fall of 2022.
  • You cannot participate in SWEP while participating in the Extended School Year Program.
  • Your teacher needs to submit a Teacher Input form before the program begins.
  • You must be available for the entire 8 weeks of the program.
  • You must have your own transportation to participate in the program.
  • Not everyone who applies to the SWEP program will be able to participate this summer.





If your student is interested, please reach out to their case manager for the application OR download the application that is attached below ~


pdf

Application SWEP 2022.pdf


Download

635.4 KB


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Thank you for completing our December SSD in Affton Survey!

SSD in Affton Families,

Thank you for completing the December survey. We are analyzing the data and working to complete action plans or answers for you for our February Newsletter. If you have any additional feedback, please always feel free to reach out to us directly. We will have another survey to complete in June to help us plan for next year.

Family and Community Engagement

Spotlight

Mental Health First Aid Training for SSD Families - Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, and others to help adolescents experiencing mental health and/or addictions challenge or crisis. It is designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations.

Nationally this course is valued at $170; due to a grant from Missouri's Department of Mental Health and a collaboration with the Ferguson Community Center, you have the opportunity to attend at no cost.

Saturday, March 19th from 9 – 1:30 PM at Ferguson Community Center. 1050 Smith Ave, Ferguson, MO 63135

Space is limited. To register click here. Registration will close on Monday, March 7th or when all seats are filled.

The Family Resource Hub located at North Tech High School is a space dedicated to families and our community stakeholders. The resource hub offers families computer and internet access, a satellite food pantry, and support navigating community resources. The space is also dedicated to supporting families by hosting learning labs, community events, and a safe and supportive environment to learn with and from one another.

OPEN HOUSE January 18- January 21, 2022 from 9 – 4 PM

You’re welcome to visit during these times or to set an appointment to meet us there.

Please call 314-989-8311 or email FamilyEngagement@ssdmo.org

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SSD Staff Appreciation Form

Do you have a teacher or staff member who has gone above & beyond for you or your child - supporting them, encouraging them to do their best or being a listening ear when they need someone? Take a minute to write a note of thanks by sharing your appreciation with them. You may fill out this form as many times as you would like for different school personnel.


https://forms.gle/vQiht9BE2sP81Heb8

Who Should I contact?

Katy Meers - Affton Special Education Director K-12 and Special Education Coordinator for Mesnier and Gotsch - kmeers@afftonschools.net or call at 314-633-5912


Ky Schlundt - Special Education Coordinator for Gotsch and Rogers - kschlundt@afftonschools.net


Tim Orr - School Psychologist for Mesnier and AHS - torr@afftonschools.net


Marie-France Castor - School Psychologist for Gotsch and Rogers and assists with EC -mcastor@afftonschools.net


Beckie Rainbolt - SSD Social Worker for Mesnier and AHS - brainbolt@afftonschools.net


Deanna Wright-Coffman - SSD Social Worker for Gotsch and Rogers - dwright@afftonschools.net


Pam Miller - SSD Social Worker for Rogers and AHS - pmiller@afftonschools.net


What if I would like to get more frequent or less frequent data on goals? Please contact your child's case manager or service providers.


What if I would like information regarding a class assignment? Please contact the teacher for that assignment.


What if I have a concern? Please contact the students case manager. If you have already contacted the case manager and you have not received results, please contact Ky or Katy.